Mitchell talks national politics, energy with Rotary

Published 12:54 am Saturday, September 13, 2008

Politics have been one of the biggest stories across the nation in recent weeks, and members of the Greenville Rotary Club got a lesson in state politics from Sen. Wendell Mitchell on Thursday.

Mitchell’s speech to the club mainly focused on three things: the state legislature’s status, updates on the water and energy committees, and the national political scene.

Of course, Mitchell commented on Charles Bishop’s punching of fellow senator Lowell Barron.

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“That was regrettable,” Mitchell said. “The truth is the senate is not like that. Most senators are honorable, but there are a few bad eggs.”

One of the biggest issues facing the legislature during the last session was lack of cooperation with the passing of local bills.

For the first time in state history, no local bills were passed because of feuds between senators.

Mitchell is in a position to help mend the relationships, and he said he’s going to do his best.

“I’m not sure I’m going to be able to pull it off, but I’m going to try,” he said. “We have a lot of good legislation that hasn’t been passed.”

“My take is that we’re getting to be too partisan,” Mitchell said. “That bothers me.”

Mitchell also serves on the state’s water and energy committees.

“We are a state without a water policy,” Mitchell said. “We have more lakes, rivers and other water than all the other states but one. We are currently working on a water policy.”

On the energy side, the state is working to promote alternative fuels.

“That’s a double-edged sword because as you take the corn, soybeans and everything for fuel, that takes away food that helps keep grocery prices down,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell also commented on the national political scene.

“Whatever the outcome, this is going to be a historic election,” he said. “Change is on its way. What course that change will take isn’t clear to me yet.”

“I hope it is change that promotes a strong America without policies that are morally bankrupt,” Mitchell added.

He finished by saying that as a public servant, his door is wide open for feedback and input.